The 'Wisconsin 14' Had It Coming
by Scott Cox
posted Mar 11 2011 3:40PM
We all watched as the events of the last few weeks in Wisconsin played out, and it was surely a watershed moment in the history of organized labor in this country. I was shocked when the whole thing came to a rather abrupt halt when the Senate republicans voted 18-1 to strip the union members of the state of their collective bargaining rights. Who knew that was even legal? And if it was, why did they wait so long to do it? Most obviously, how did the democrats in Madison not see it coming? The protests over the maneuver were instant and boistrous. There were thousands of folks there, from rank-and-file union workers to professional protesters bussed or flown in from around the country. They did not take the news well. Union leaders promised the crowd that the move was in fact illegal, and would be challenged in court the next morning. But with a republican Attorney General, they must've known that was wishful thinking at best. I just can't figure out why everyone was so shocked that it all happened this way. If the gop lawyers knew that they could do it, how did the dem's legal advisors get caught so flat-footed? I'm guessing that the most surprised people of all were the 14 democrat legislators who were hiding out in Illinois to avoid the vote. And while the whole country has chosen sides on this thing and decided who the villians are, for me it's gotta be the "Wisconsin 14". See, these guys ran away to deny the state legislature the quorum require to pass the bill. Democracy doesn't work like that. You don't vapor-lock the whole process because you don't like the inevitable outcome. You vote how you vote, and you take your medicine. At least you can go back to your constituents and tell them you did the right thing. The amazing thing is, the union guys, after hearing the news of the vote, blamed the senate for voting without them! They had 3 weeks to vote on this bill, and chose to run and hide instead. So here's what they got- they lost the vote after a surprise political move, and had to return to Madison beaten, and looking like cowards. They lost the war while hiding from the battle. And while i'm sure that this story is far from over, and no matter how it turns out, I hope that these 14 democrats are remembered not for their legislative loss, but for the pitiful tactics they resorted to in the first place. Wisconsin, and the rest of the country deserves better.